Katelyn Best

Portland Bookstores, Beyond Powell’s

Don’t stop with the largest independent bookstore in the world; these shops offer an abundance of literary riches.

3 min read

Katelyn Best

There’s no better place to while away a rainy afternoon than in one of Portland’s many locally-owned bookstores. The essential and most obvious stop is Powell’s City of Books, which, with more than 1 million new and used volumes, is the largest independent bookstore in the world. But don’t stop there! Venture a little further afield and you’ll find an abundance of literary riches at these Portland bookstores.

Favorite Portland Bookstores

Green Bean Books

The impossibly cozy Green Bean has the distinction of being the premier kids’ shop among Portland bookstores. Inside a little red house on Northeast Alberta Avenue, you’ll find shelf after shelf of new and used picture books, graphic novels, nonfiction for all ages and a small but eclectic foreign language section that includes books in Vietnamese, Spanish, Chinese and more. In addition to literary treasures for the whole family, Green Bean stocks a selection of whimsical toys.  Shop for finger puppets, hand-painted dolls and fake facial hair (some of which are sold from vintage, coin-operated vending machines). Settle into a couch or armchair for story time or an author event; check their site for an up-to-date calendar.

Powell’s City of Books

Covering an entire city block, Powell's is a landmark, a great bookstore and a microcosm of the city itself.

Monograph Bookwerks

The petite Monograph isn’t a shop to get lost in, but it’s full of rare, unexpected finds. This tidy, stylish shop just off Northeast Alberta specializes in art books, retro posters and ephemera. The owners display $1 vintage postcards with the same care as antique opera posters and catalogs from Marcel Duchamp exhibits.

Mother Foucault’s Bookshop

As the name implies, Mother Foucault’s is a haven for lovers of philosophy, but they also stock fiction, poetry, nonfiction and foreign-language titles. This relatively young shop feels like it’s been at its Central Eastside location for decades. Revel in the well-trodden rugs, worn wooden shelves and piles of dusty, leather-bound tomes. Their event calendar features readings and performances by bands from Portland and around the globe.

Eight Coffee Shops Made for Reading

Pick up a winning read at one of Portland’s many independent bookstores and curl up in a cozy corner of one of these eight local coffee shops.

Broadway Books

This female-owned shop on Northeast Broadway has drawn in shoppers since 1992 with a wide array of new fiction and nonfiction titles. Brightly lit and welcoming, Broadway Books attracts families with its exceptional customer service and a vast selection, including sizeable travel and kids’ sections. The shop also hosts author events that have featured the likes of Floyd Skloot, Cheryl Strayed and Diana Abu-Jaber.

Annie Bloom’s Books

A Multnomah Village staple since 1978, Annie Bloom’s is a friendly, independent shop packed with fiction, travel guides, cookbooks and kids’ books. Don’t miss the frequent author readings — or the friendly resident cat!

Bridge City Comics

Owned by Dark Horse Comics publishing alumnus Michael Ring, Bridge City Comics is a graphic novel paradise. Comics from a wide berth of publishers like Marvel, DC and smaller labels like Oni Press line the shelves, with new material arriving every Wednesday. Join like-minded comic enthusiasts the second Thursday of every month for their Graphic Novel Reading Club, or peruse stacks of used comics for sale at a discount. Whether you’re a collector looking for hard-to-find titles or are just starting to explore the world of comics, Bridge City Comics is the place to go.

Floating World Comics

Known for their large selection of small press, self-published and underground titles, Floating World Comics provides a home for underdog authors and little-known artists, as well as big-name titles from local publishers like Dark Horse. Their all-ages section offers a wide variety of youth and YA graphic novels, and new authors are welcome to bring in their own mini-comics or zines to sell on their shelves.

Literary Portland

Portland Books and Authors

These notable hometown authors capture the spirit of the Northwest and are must-reads for visitors and locals alike.

The Portland Book Festival

Portland Book Festival (formerly “Wordstock”) returns every November with an impressive (and extensive) lineup of local and national authors.

Literary Portland

This book-friendly city is home to an annual book festival and the world's largest independent bookstore.